They attend church every Sunday because they enjoy the community, the music and homilies. I know someone who is struggling to keep his faith. He thinks death is the end and he thinks that Jesus was just a man. He no longer prays but believes in proactively helping others. After experiencing loss, he seems to have lost his belief in afterlife. It is very sad honestly. He refuses to believe in God’s sovereign authority over the universe or that suffering serves a higher purpose. From what he told me, he is joining a male’s Bible study and still reads the bible - Jesus is still the person he aspires to be like. He is in deep depression from the illness of two family members.
If he’s depressed he needs all the help he can get.
It’s very good to cling to the Sacraments in crises of faith. If this man isn’t going out and proclaiming his concerns on street corners, and instead confided quietly, I’d pray for him and offer encouragement, not admonishment. It sounds like he’s doing good things to help him get better.
Great suffering can destroy faith. I used to think that the sexual revolution caused the widespread loss of faith in the western world in the 20th century but I now tend to think that the cultural revolution along with the widespread abandonment of religion were the result of World War II. I have not experienced anything like that but I have come to the point of doubting the Christian explanation for suffering when it became too much to handle. I can understand why so many Jews were atheists in the post Holocaust world and still are. It takes tremendous faith to believe in providence when two thirds of your people are so easily and coldly destroyed right before your eyes or close enough to you in time to be very real and personal. I think it is a miracle to retain faith in such circumstances. No logic can hold it. You need grace and some form of direct “sign” tailored to each person that God really IS there, IS benevolent, and IS in control.
This person retains some kind of faith or they would have left. There is something there that holds them “hostage” to the church still, in a way they cannot yet see. Personally, I would refrain from communion if I was aware of mortal sin that was unconfessed. But doubts are tricky. I could think today that God isn’t really here and I’ve been mistaken. Two seconds later I think of course he is here and I speak to him in a way. I don’t know about your friend’s situation exactly but these inward struggles with belief if they don’t lead to something I can identify concretely as mortal sin, I don’t tend to think of them that way. I think of them as venial sins if that, which would be wiped away the moment I return to myself and think yes, I’m not alone. God is here. and go back to talking to him.
Having two family members who are sick is tough. Your friend needs professional help to deal with the depression. Your friend could also call the social worker (or similar department) at the hospital and ask if there is a support group for people in his position, e.g., caregivers of spouses, etc.
At your post you start with plural (they) and then switch to singular. It appears you are speaking about different people. It is great that they do go to Mass. If the persons are Catholic, they should see a Priest, go to Confession, etc., before Receiving. I would recommend this whether or not they are in state of grace because of all the strength and graces Our Lord grants through that Sacrament. If the persons are not Catholic, they should still see a Priest to talk about possible RCIA classes. The Priest is the one to advise the person.
Well, that is my :twocents: worth .
This from St. Teresa is very helpful during difficult times:
**Let Nothing Disturb You
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Obtains all things,
Whoever has God
God alone suffices.
Santa Teresa de Jesús `
(Santa Teresa de Ávila
Objectively speaking, no, he shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion.
If you are an agnostic, you should not receive because you most likely do not believe the Eucharist is really the Vody and Blood of Christ. Reception of the Eucharist requires faith in the Church’s teaching on that issue, if you are unsure, refrain until you are sure
Exactly. If you are an agnostic; why would you receive?
The Priest says"
“The Body of Christ”
The communicate responds:
“Amen” Which is a profession of Faith!
If someone is an agnostic…no they should not be receiving.
They should though seek the help they need from the Church so they can come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and the reality of eternal life in him.
I’m not sure if the person in the OP can be described as an agnostic. He is struggling with belief, but seems to want to believe and is taking steps to address that.
Well, these hypothetical threads are hard to read.
The OP is confusing.
It’s better to stay in one’s own lane and advise people to see their priest about such matters.
The details are not really clear in this case, as Luz says.
At any rate, a genuine agnostic wouldn’t even find themselves at Mass in the first place. :shrug: Much less be moved to receive.
I fully agree.